Follies of the Madmen #301

The birth of the selfie generation.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 18, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Family, Hobbies and DIY, Movies, 1950s

Just Imagine

The uproarious laughter by the human executive at the antics of Tommy Telephone, a plainly impossible vision, proclaims that the fellow is gratefully descending into the dark swamp of insanity due to the high stresses of his job.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 10, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings, Products, Communications, Delusions, Fantasies and Other Tricks of the Imagination, Technology, Telephones, Cartoons, Stop-motion Animation, 1940s, Brain Damage

Mystery Illustration 34


This wordless packaging was designed in 1968 to hold a very common consumer item. What was inside?

The answer is here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 05, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Design and Designers, Graphics, Products, 1960s

Fur-Lined Pot

Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim's fur-wrapped teacup and saucer, first exhibited in 1936, is considered a masterpiece of surrealist art. Oppenheim said that her only intention when creating it was to take something familiar and make it strange. (Read more about it here).

"Luncheon in Fur," by Meret Oppenheim

But what was the intention of Lincoln Products when they came out with their "fur-lined pot," circa 1958? Was it inspired by Oppenheim's teacup? And what did they mean by referring to it as the "proverbial fur-lined potty"? I have no idea.

My best guess is that a fur-lined potty would keep you warm if you sat on it while going to the bathroom. So perhaps a "fur-lined potty" was an old idiom for an idea that was good in theory, but not in practice.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 04, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Products

Anti-Hero Hostility Dart Board

In 1967, artist Robert Cenedella came out with the "Anti-Hero Hostility Dart Board," featuring "photographic images of some of your favorite anti-heroes." Consumers could choose between an "LBJ, Lady Bird, Humphrey, Castro, Hochi Minn, De Gaulle, Nasser, Nixon, Bobby Kennedy, Reagan, or Sigmund Freud" dart board.

In a later interview, Cenedella said that, "For a few dollars extra, you could put a relative or an ex-wife there." He added, "I had more success in doing these gimmicks than I did at my art."

The following year, Cenedella discontinued the dart boards, citing his concern that the nation had become too violent.

As far as I know, Cenedella's Hostility Dart Board was the first commercially sold, political-themed dart board. But nowadays they're fairly common., for instance, has a bunch of them.

La Crosse Tribune - June 12, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 30, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Politics, Products, 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #297


[Click to enlarge]

Maybe some Canadian WU-vie can explain the subtext of this ad. Three men hold up photos of hockey players while looking benignly but perhaps jealously at the fourth fellow who is smart enough to have a beer in his hand instead, with his own hockey photo (program book?) resting on a tabletop.


Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 28, 2016 - Comments (12)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Regionalism, Sports, 1960s, North America, Alcohol

Dakota Cigarettes for the Virile Female

In 1990, R.J. Reynolds test marketed a new brand of cigarette named "Dakota." But the brand immediately generated controversy when internal company documents leaked to the Washington Post revealed that the cigarettes were narrowly targeted at a demographic described as "virile females."

What exactly is a "virile female"? It was apparently "a woman with no education beyond high school, whose favorite television roles are Roseanne and 'evening soap opera (bitches)' and whose chief aspiration is 'to get married in her early 20s' and spend her free time 'with her boyfriend doing whatever he is doing.'"

The phrase "virile female" attracted a lot of interest. Many people wondered if it was acceptable English. Language columnist William Safire weighed in on the issue, asking, "Can you use virile woman without committing an oxymoronic act?" He concluded, yes you can:

Masculine woman is an acceptable phrase, as is effeminate man; what is meant here, however, is different from a female who acts like a male. A virile woman, as I interpret the promotional message, is "a woman who associates herself with activities and images formerly considered of primarily male interest."

He further noted that there was literary precedent for the phrase:

Etymologists will support the use of virile woman because the first appearance of the adjective, in William Caxton's 1490 translation of a French romance based on Virgil's 'Aeneid,' was in the phrase "O the fortytude viryle of wymmen."

However, even though Safire had officially approved the phrase "virile female," the cigarettes themselves didn't perform well in the test marketing, so Reynolds scuttled the brand.

Palm Beach Post - Feb 17, 1990

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 10, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Products, Smoking and Tobacco, 1990s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

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